When Napster first launched in 1999, it began large-scale unauthorized file sharing that started a whole new revolution in illegal downloads. Its emergence on the scene encouraged numerous people to start similar websites.
Even though it did shut down in 2001, various other platforms and sharing protocols with refinements and added features such as BitTorrent, LimeWire, eMule, Gnutella and Morpheus came into the fore. And while these platforms do not store protected content on their servers, what they actually do is promote peer-to-peer exchanges among users that prevent vulnerability and accountability on them. These exchanges began with sharing music, but over time as bandwidth grew, large media files including films, series, games and ebooks, began to follow suit.
A spinoff from these sites -cyberlockers, employed a different technology that began to make use of cloud storage hosted at various locations. Sites such as Megaupload, RapidShare, Mega and similar ventures, started their services to be out of reach of copyright enforcement. Just as there are authorized supply platforms, illegal supply platforms too began, such as Popcorn Time for series and movies.
Given the rapid rise of illegal channels and protocols and to curb the many complex issues of online piracy, various enforcement measures came into play that began to combat and prevent illegal downloads.
Typically, copyright law is significantly balanced by the Berne Convention, the TRIPS Agreement, and the WIPO Internet Treaties (WCT and WPPT). These international treaties lay down fundamental and minimum standards concerning enforcement and copyright law. Almost every country abides by these treaties, excepting Thailand and Brazil. Based on the influence of these international laws, each country enforces domestic laws to deal with online copyright infringement. With a robust union of enforcement measures against online pirates, intermediaries, illegal downloads and users, a host of criminal, administrative and civil measures, there are now ways to stop online copyright infringement. Well at least in theory anyway – hopefully you also have a large cash reserve if lawyers need to get involved.
Hence as a copyright holder, you now have legal recourse against online ebook piracy. A combination of various legal steps can ensure that you have a broad range of enforcement measures against illegal downloads, ISPs and unauthorized platforms that intentionally host your protected ebook to stream and download by users or those who knowingly offers links to your protected content. But, despite the abundance of enforcement measures available, it does not mean that they are used every time or are useful in thwarting online piracy entirely.
According to research reports, publishers lose more than $300 million due to illegal downloads of ebooks each year. This has grave implications for everyone in the content supply chain, from authors, distributors and even consumers. And although the electronic world has opened the domain to a broader audience, more available titles, reading devices, online channels and more, these are the very factors that also hamper the purchase of online ebooks and ultimately, your profitability, due to illegal downloads.
If you are a publisher, content creator or a copyright holder plagued by online ebook piracy, you would be aware of how it has impacted your profits and undermined your relationships in the content creation and distribution supply chain. And because the future of content is digital, you are likely to see a further evolution of the digital realm in publishing your works. How then can you prevent online ebook piracy given the variety of illegal outlets and numerous motivations of unauthorized users? As a standalone author, without the means to fight against the big evil world of online ebook piracy, how can you protect your content?
Ebook DRM or digital rights management can come to your aid in offering you granular options in how you control access to and restrictions on your creative works. It protects content from piracy and theft and makes distribution flexible and straightforward – you can use a marketing platform or your own website for ebook sales – either way your ebooks are protected from unauthorized access.
Ebook DRM encrypts your books and locks it to a single user or device. So if a user has purchased your book, he or she would not be able to share it with another unless you explicitly provide sharing rights. You can also include information within your protected ebook and embeds this information — a watermark — to identify the user. You can also control whether content can be printed (and if so the quality of the prints allowed) and if your ebooks expire (e.g. give users a sample for a trial period). With a comprehensive and complete solution to monitor, detect and respond to illegal acquisition of your content, ebook DRM empowers your rights and protects you from book piracy losses.
With a proven, tested and proactive solution to combat piracy of your ebook and digital works, ebook DRM offers you deep insight into how, where and when theft could take place. By providing you with the capacity you need to protect your original works against piracy, you can be assured of a dramatic increase in your visibility to your potential customers without impacting your bottom line. When distributing your ebooks in the digital marketplace, look to ebook DRM for protection. It can provide you with a series of licensing controls and ebook protection to extend your ability in publishing safely, selling books securely and stopping piracy and theft of your protected content.